Hugh Grant’s lawsuit against The Sun tabloid

A court in London on Friday rejected an attempt by the publisher of The Sun tabloid to throw out the case against actor Hugh Grant on the grounds that the journalists and investigators they hired were illegally looking at him.

Justice Timothy Fancourt said the trial must determine whether Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers engaged in illegal activities that included tapping Grant’s home phone, hiding his car and breaking into his home.

“If true – which will be the case for the trial to take place in January 2024 – these allegations could lead to serious, intentional wrongdoing at NGN, carried out on a multi-disciplinary basis,” Fancourt wrote. “Most importantly…, they have also established an effort to cover up the crime by concealing and destroying important evidence, denying people repeatedly, lying to the authorities and government officials, and unjustified threats to those who hope to say or inform what they want. The Sun.”

In a hearing last month, the News Group said the illegal information claims by Grant and Prince Harry should be thrown out because they were not brought within six years.

The ruling did not address the Duke of Sussex’s case because the judge wants to hear more information at the July hearing about Harry’s claim that he was prevented from bringing his phone recently due to a “confidential agreement” between Buckingham Palace and the News. Group leaders.

The judge rejected Grant’s claim that he was hacking the phone for the sake of saving time, saying the actor, who has played a key role in the hacked media reform group Hacked Off, was well aware of the problem of voicemail interception and could have said so sooner.

Grant previously settled a phone hacking case with former News Group publication News of the World. The paper was shut down in 2011 when the hacking scandal peaked after it was revealed that the tabloid had accessed the emails of the murdered girl, including celebrities, athletes, politicians and the royal family.

The News Group has insisted that no illegal gathering took place at The Sun.

But the judge said the case could continue for reasons the actor said he discovered in 2021 after a private investigator, Gavin Burrows, revealed alleged wiretapping, extortion and theft on behalf of the paper.

“In addition to hacking my phone and cutting my landline, (Burrows) knew that my location had been hacked by people working at The Sun and that a tracking device had been placed in my car,” Grant said in evidence. “I found this strange.”

Grant said he couldn’t piece together who broke into his fourth bedroom in 2011. The door had been removed from its hinges and inside it looked like there had been a fight but nothing was missing. Two days later, The Sun had an article detailing the interior and “home row signs.”

Prince Harry said last month that the royal family had agreed to settle their lawsuit with the News Group out of court following wiretapping allegations against the News of the World. He said the deal – which he says was agreed upon by his grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth II – was aimed at keeping the royal family from testifying in court. He said the union wanted to apologize.

In court papers, Harry said he brought his case in 2019 – against the wishes of his father, who is now King Charles III – after being frustrated that a settlement was not taking place. He also said that his brother, Prince William, the heir to the throne, later received a major “amnesty” in wiretapping charges against the News Group.

NGN has denied that there was a “confidential deal.” The palace did not respond to messages seeking comment on this or William’s alleged set-up.

A spokesperson for the News Group released a statement Friday saying it was pleased the court had dismissed Grant’s phone theft charges.

“NGN strongly opposes the various historical justifications for the unauthorized collection of information contained in Mr. Grant’s remains,” he said.

Harry’s lawsuit against News Group is one of three phone hacking suits he has brought against British publishers.

Fancourt is currently hearing evidence from Harry’s lawyer and three other people against the publisher of the Daily Mirror over illegal information dating back to the 1990s. Harry is due to testify in the case next month.

A judge is reviewing whether charges brought by the Duke, Elton John, actress Elizabeth Hurley and others against the publisher of the Daily Mail should be prosecuted.

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